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Joining the Chorus

We’ve just been through ESC and are heading towards DAC. Both of these are “go-to” events for marketing: lots of announcements, lots of press meetings.

And yet, one of the recommendations you frequently hear as a marketer is that shows are a bad place to announce things. There’s so much going on, there are so many people making announcements, that you get lost in the noise. It’s really hard to stand out; your marketing energy is dissipated in friction, not in results. (Of course, if everybody stopped announcing at shows, it would be a great place to announce…)

Another strategy is to announce just before the show. The idea there is that your prospective customers get to see what’s new ahead of time, and they can make specific plans to come check you out.

Despite this, most companies announce at the shows. Some with multiple releases in one day. Some companies that don’t have any real news even manufacture a more or less useless story just to have something to say. The press releases come tumbling through the ether, landing in a giant heap for all of us to sort through.

The media and the shows may have some complicity in this. Each major show wants to be able to trumpet major announcements made at the show; it makes them important. Meanwhile, the media will be meeting with people at the show; if the news has already gone out on the wire, many reporters discard it as stale a week later.

So you end up in a catch-22: if you announce early, you may get less press interest at the show (but perhaps better customer interaction). If you announce at the show, you may get lost in the noise.

My vote would be for marketers to worry less about when to announce and more about what to announce. Especially at a show. Focus on stuff that’s really new and different. Things that feel like news even if you look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself the headline. If it’s a solid story, I’ll be willing to write about it regardless of when it was released, or whether I’m briefed ahead or after.

With a good announcement, it’s the content that will carry the day, not the timing.

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